The first priest jailed for sexually abusing an altar boy in Hong Kong lost his last-ditch attempt to have his convictions overturned in the Court of Final Appeal yesterday. Five judges of the top court unanimously dismissed Michael Lau Ka-yee's appeal over his convictions for sexual assault between January 1991 and July 1992. The victim was 15 when the first assault took place. In a judgment handed down yesterday, non-permanent judge Sir Anthony Mason said Lau had a fair trial and he rejected the defence argument that an admission Lau made in a June 1995 meeting lacked any weight or that the trial judge should have excluded it. 'The submission that the exercise of the discretion not to exclude the admission miscarried or that the admission lacked any weight must be rejected,' Sir Anthony said. 'The admission had substantial probative value and its reception in evidence did not prejudice the fairness of the trial.' Lau was convicted in February last year of two charges of indecent assault, one of gross indecency and another of attempted buggery over incidents in January 1991 and July 1992 at his quarters at St Joseph's Catholic Church and the Anglo-Chinese Primary School in Ngau Tau Kok. District Court Judge Maggie Poon Man-kay jailed him for 4 1/2 years. In April, the Court of Appeal dismissed Lau's appeal, saying the sexual assault convictions were being upheld on the basis of evidence that there had been a clear admission by Lau in the meeting and that he had apologised to his victim. The courts have heard a meeting was organised by Father Chiu Bit-shing after an Apple Daily newspaper reporter contacted Lau for an interview in relation to the allegations of sexual abuse after speaking to his victim. At the meeting, Lau tearfully begged for forgiveness and claimed he was sexually abused as a boy. Sir Anthony also said the defence's suggestion that the trial judge had overlooked the possibility that Lau was simply apologising, without making any admission, in order to persuade the victim not to allow publication, had 'no plausible foundation'.